Erik ten Hag is keeping his cards close to his chest in regard to whether he’ll start Cristiano Ronaldo against Arsenal today.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, the manager said of Ronaldo:
“I will be his friend and sometimes I will be his teacher, it depends on the situation.
“But as we all know, he didn’t have [a] pre-season and you cannot miss the pre-season. It’s a base.
“Especially in the game we play, the way of play, we play another type [of football] in comparison with last year so it depends on the demands, co-operation, and demands of certain positioning in and out of possession and the other thing is the fitness.”
This suggests that Ten Hag might continue to play Ronaldo off the bench and there is a veiled hint of punishment on his part for the fact that the 37 year old chose not to take part in United’s pre-season tour and that he may be slow or reluctant to adapt to the boss’s preferred style of play.
However, in an interview with Sky Sports, Ten Hag spoke in very positive terms and seemed to imply he was ready to start the world’s record goalscorer.
Also, The MEN’s Samuel Luckhurst notes that a fansite endorsed by Ronaldo tweeted “Sunday the king plays”, referring to the player’s own tweet announcing his involvement against Rayo Vallecano in a pre-season game.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) September 3, 2022
Antony could, of course, make his debut instead but having played no competitive football for three weeks, it seems more likely he will be on the bench.
Ten Hag has also hinted that Casemiro could be ready to start his first game.
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